I have used this deck extensively for self and client readings since I received it in July, 2012.
The longer I blog and the more reviews I read, the less inclined I am to give my opinions on art, because that is so subjective, and since I tend to use a deck for a week at a time before I review it, there should be plenty of images for each reader to decide for themselves how they feel about it. What I will say is that is unless a deck's imagery and voice speaks to me, I won't make it through a whole week of using it. That means, while I do not like all decks, I tend to write positive reviews because I can rarely use decks I don't really like long enough to get a good enough feel to review the thing. I'll give the physical details, tell you my opinion, leave some images, and you can decide if it is for you, deal?
The Dark Fairytale Tarot has been rendered through computer graphics by Rafaelle de Angelis, published by Lo Scarabeo. It comes with a Little White Book, a title card, and a promotional card featuring some of their other decks with dark or fairy themes. The backs are fully reversible, with scroll work in a cool metal looking medium, a cross in the middle with a red gem in the middle, and the dimensions of the card are slightly less than 2 3/4 inches by 4 3/4 inches. The card stock is lightly varnished and the cards shuffle easily, although the black borders do show wear, with lightly chipping on the edges of my cards after light use. I have found this to be something that happens with most decks with dark borders, and does not bother me or detract from my readings. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court Cards Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings. There are 22 Major Arcana, with Justice labelled VIII and Strength at XI. There are no words on the cards, though, so you are free to call them anything you like.
There are many images of vampires, werewolves, dark fey beings, and what I commonly refer to as Goth gone mainstream. This deck won't be for everyone, as there are scenes with light violence, some blood, and while there is no outright nudity, some of the denizens are scantily clad. None of these things detract from the deck for me, and in many cases they actually add to the reading. One thing I do not care for in the deck is the repeated use of what it appears to be one model, who strongly resembles King Theoden from The Lord of the Rings movies. There are four cards that seem to be the same figure to me. Three of them are Kings, and the other the Emperor, so they do relate, but that would be a theme to carry over throughout the deck. This way it just seems disjointed.
Another thing that would have improved the deck, for me, would have been the inclusion of a detailed book describing the inspiration for each card, the fairy tale they came from, or even a original story from the creator's imagination. I have several fairy tale decks, all of which have large books with them because the stories are so vast, so rich, and while I enjoy making my own stories up when using the deck I would also have enjoyed the creator's perspective.
While this is not a quibble for me, it may be for some people, so I feel it should be noted that the Hierophant looks quite a bit like Saruman, again from The Lord of the Rings movies. The Devil also strongly resembles The Lord of Darkness from the 1985 movie Legend, in which Tom Cruise made his debut. These movies happen to be favorites of mine, so I am not bothered by these similarities, but I just want potential buyer to be aware of them, because as readers, one card really can ruin a deck for us.
That being said, for myself, I have found this to be an evocative storytelling deck that largely follows Waite Smith meanings, with some interesting twists. One of the reasons I am drawn to Lo Scarabeo decks in general is that they often stretch the boundaries of tarot. I like to see the images that don't quite "fit" and the light bulb moment I get when I realize how a particular quirky image relates to tarot as I understand it is always a thrill. There are many symbols and colors for intuitive readers to grab onto to enhance their readings, and while "dark" is even in the name of the deck, the readings I have done with it have been well rounded, with shadow and light both well represented.
I have found the deck to answer both mundane and spiritual questions with equal aplomb, and it has been great for revealing shadows the light should be shined on. I have also found this deck superb for readings about relationships of all types, and its' energy has lent itself particularly well to questions dealing with sexuality.
If you like CGI, if you like dark themes, if twilight color appeal to you, and if you are not married to Waite Smith meanings in your decks, you may give this one a try!